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Turkish military offensive in Afrin is a dangerous development

The Turkish military campaign against the US-backed Kurds in the enclave of Afrin in northern Syria was the topic that dominated discussions in the Arabic language press across the region this week

Image Credit: AP
Turkish soldiers on an armoured personnel carrier secure a staging area of troops preparing their tanks to enter combat and join a military offensive on a Kurdish-held enclave in northern Syria, in the Hatay province, Turkey near the the border with Syria. Turkey launched an operation, codenamed Olive Branch, last week against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units in Afrin, Syria that it deems a terror group. The operation codenamed Olive Branch is on its fourth day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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Oman’s Al Watan newspaper argues that the Syrian crisis is going to be more complicated due to evil plans pushed by all parties plotting against Syria, in reference to the United States, Turkey and terrorist militias. Washington announced plans to set up a 30,000-strong force inside Syria to protect territory held by its mainly Kurdish allies. This force, made up of Kurdish armed militias, will form the nucleus of a separate independent entity in northern Syria, dominated by Kurds, who yearn for independence. The US is trying its utmost to thwart any political solution that preserves Syria’s geographical unity, to serve the Israeli occupation entity and enable it to realise its colonial dreams of taking control of the entire region.

On the other hand, the ground offensive launched by Ankara against Kurdish militias in Afrin is yet another form of malicious design, jeopardising Syria’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity. As Russia opposes both Turkish and US plans that could lead to the partitioning of Syria, the Syrian government vowed to win back control of the entire country and remove any form of US-backed Kurdish militias. Syria will eventually regain sovereignty over its territory after flushing out all terrorist militias.

London-based daily Al Hayat said that Turkey would never accept a Kurdish self-rule entity on its border with Syria and this is why it launched a large-scale ground offensive to root out Kurdish militias and establish a buffer zone under the pretext of protecting its national security. Ankara’s action came in retaliation to Washington’s plan to form a border security force in the predominantly Kurdish areas on the Syria-Turkey border — a move seen by Turkey as a threat to its security.

Syrian newspaper Tishreen said that Washington’s announcement of forming a new militia in Syria’s northern region is no surprise as the US has long embraced a hostile strategy based on establishing armies of mercenaries to involve in proxy wars. Since 2011, the US has spent billions of dollars on training gangs from all over the world in a systematic approach to destroy Syria. So, its new army made up of some Kurds will not be better off than the Daesh [the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and Al Nusra gangs who were crushed by the Syrian national army.

Syria will retaliate against both the US-backed Kurdish army and the Turkish troops and deal with them as hostile foreign forces. Damascus considers the US plan as a blatant attack on Syrian sovereignty. It will only accept honest efforts by other parties on the grounds of good faith to settle the crisis politically.

Palestinian daily Al Quds believes the ‘Operation Olive Branch’ launched by Turkey against the Kurdish Democratic Forces and its armed wing People’s Protection Units in Afrin marks a new chapter in the decades-long conflict between Ankara and the Kurdish militias. It is also a dangerous development in the seven-year Syrian crisis. The newspaper feels Ankara would not have launched this air and ground offensive without the permission of the two superpowers — Russia and the US — the paper observed.

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